Haywood scores twice as Saints see off Worcester

Ken Pisi and Saints saw off Worcester at Franklin's Gardens (pictures: Sharon Lucey)
Ken Pisi and Saints saw off Worcester at Franklin's Gardens (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

Mike Haywood scored twice as Saints secured their fifth successive home win by beating Worcester Warriors 24-14 on Saturday afternoon.

Teimana Harrison, who had been released by England earlier in the week, was also on the scoresheet as Jim Mallinder's men bounced back from two successive league defeats to move into the Aviva Premiership top six.

Saints had suffered an early scare when full-back Josh Adams scored for Worcester, with Ryan Mills' conversion making it 7-0.

But Harrison's score from the back of a lineout and Haywood's opportunistic score put Saints in control, with Stephen Myler adding seven points before the break.

And with the game completely lifeless in the second half, Saints extended their lead as Haywood made the most of a lineout drive to score again.

But Worcester were to have the final say as Bryce Heem found his way over in the final play of the game, with Ryan Lamb converting.

Worcester would have hoped for so much more when they started strongly, winning a penalty against the head in the scrum and proceeding to put pressure on Saints.

And the away side soon had the try they wanted as a huge gap appeared in midfield and Wynand Olivier burst through it before passing to Adams, who finished well.

Ryan Mills added the conversion with aplomb from the touchline and the anxiety levels started to rise at the Gardens.

But Saints responded well and after two punchy attacks were stopped by the Warriors, a well-executed lineout move saw Harrison pop up at the back to score.

Myler added the extras to level the scores and he was putting his team ahead soon after, slotting a penalty to make it 10-7.

Phil Dowson then made his presence felt, catching Ken Pisi in the air, leaving Saints fans in the confused position of whether or not to boo their former player and future assistant coach.

The penalty was given to Saints and they were to score again before the break.

Nic Groom released Pisi with a lovely pass and after the Samoan wing offloaded to Alex Waller the ball spilled into the path of Haywood, who was there to dot it down.

Myler converted brilliantly with the final kick of the half to stretch the lead to 10 points at the break.

Mills missed the chance to reduce the deficit as he failed with a fairly simple looking penalty attempt early in the second period.

And Mills missed again soon after as Saints presented him with another penalty chance, in front of the posts.

The game was meandering with neither side able to really get in the ascendancy.

There was a lack of quality rugby on show, with both 22s hardly being troubled and replacements continually being introduced in a bid to find a spark.

And Haywood eventually made the game safe for Saints, making the most of a lineout drive to register his seventh try of the season, making him the team's top scorer.

Myler continued his flawless record from the tee with the conversion, but Worcester had the final word, scoring through Heem.

Former Saints fly-half Lamb converted to a backdrop of silence as the home fans flooded out to reflect on a hard-earned victory for their team.

Saints: Tuala (Estelles 72); K Pisi, Tuitavake (Wilson 58), Mallinder, Foden (c); Myler, Groom (Dickson 65); A Waller (E Waller 71), Haywood (Clare 78), Brookes (Hill 59); Paterson, Day (Ratuniyarawa 58); Gibson, Clark (Dickinson 75), Harrison.

Worcester Warriors: Adams; Heem, Olivier, Willison, Humphreys (Pennell 52); Mills (Lamb 65), Hougaard; Bower (Leleimalefaga 58), Annett (Bregvadze 65), Schonert (Alo 5); O’Callaghan (c) (Cavubati 59), Spencer; Dowson (Mama 56), Lewis, Poitgieter.

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys

Phil Dowson was back at the Gardens as a player for the final time before joining the Saints coaching staff this summer

Phil Dowson was back at the Gardens as a player for the final time before joining the Saints coaching staff this summer

Mike Haywood picked up to score for Saints

Mike Haywood picked up to score for Saints

Ahsee Tuala was at full-back for Saints

Ahsee Tuala was at full-back for Saints